The South Burlington School Board is unique in that it welcomes a new student representative annually. This gives board members the opportunity to hear news and opinions directly from those they work so hard to serve. Every year, a junior is elected to the school board. This student is picked from the South Burlington High School Student Council. Anyone from the student council can nominate an individual. Once nominated, students make speeches and the council votes on a school board representative. This year, Neerja Patel was chosen. She joins senior Sabina Latifovic in representing SBHS students at board meetings.
Patel said, “I love to be involved with the school. I remember in 8th grade, the reason I was so excited for high school was because of the numerous opportunities the school holds. In many of the organizations and clubs that are at school, I strive to become a leader or president of that club.”
Indeed, Patel’s roster of activities is impressive. She is part of a number of volunteer and community service groups including Coalition for Community Service, Key Club, and PACT. She is also involved in the Climate Committee, Bollywood Dance Club, International Club, and DECA (an international association of high school and college students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service). You can see her perform in SBHS Drama productions and on the SB Dance Team as well. “I love all the activities that I am a part of because they are all unique in their own way” Patel said.
Thus far, Patel’s drive and commitment to these activities have garnered her a Silver medal at the state Science Fair (sophomore year), 1st place in DECA (freshman year), 2nd place in DECA (sophomore year), and an Award of Excellence in the DECA internationals (sophomore year).
What does Patel hope to bring to her new position? “I’ve always wanted what is best for the community, schools, and people,” Patel said, “I hope to bring my voice to the school board in saying what I believe in. I’d like to say my opinion on certain issues that I think really matter. And of course, I would like to represent the students in what they have to say. I know the methadone clinic is a topic on the table. I would really like to know more about it because as a student, I feel that it is a big topic that needs to be greatly looked into.”
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent